In which I regularly-ish sum up this past weekend in women’s hockey.
BOS 5 – 3 CTW
The N still has a week of regular-season play left, but this past weekend’s games clinched everyone’s playoff spots. Boston claimed first place in the league with a win over the Whale, despite a near-superhuman effort by Jaimie Leonoff, who saved 61 of 65 shots. Brianna Decker got a hat trick and an assist, though Micaela Long had a two-goal night to make up some of that ground for Connecticut. Not enough, unfortunately.
BUF 5 – 1 NYR
Buffalo’s quality of play is still clawing its way upward; New York’s is stilll…well, not doing that. Their only goal was a penalty shot from Ketchum early in the second; on the clock, not a peep to be heard from their offense. Meanwhile Megan Bozek, who started the season shooting a bizarrely low 2%, had a three-point night to help haul her success rate back up to a more reasonable level. I don’t even know what to say about all of this. There are only so many ways to rephrase “the Riveters are a tragically underperforming team who can’t seem to find a system and stick with it.”
MON 14 – 0 BOS
MON 10 – 1 BOS
Much like with Beauts/Riveters, there aren’t many meaningful conclusions you can draw from a series like this, beyond “the Canadiennes are full of stars who are very good at scoring goals, and the Blades aren’t.” The issues with the Blades and the Riveters aren’t the same, by any means–the Blades got gutted late in the summer and had no time for a thoughtful rebuild, while the Riveters have plenty of ducks they can’t seem to get into order. But both results feel just as tragically predictable.
Let’s be honest: the truly incredible thing about this weekend is that only one Montreal player per night got a hat trick. (Bettez on Saturday, Deschenes on Sunday.) Myers got the only Boston goal all weekend, out of a grand total of 27 shots. I like to imagine that Charline Labonte gets a lot of leisure reading done when these teams play each other, with the occasional poke check between chapters.
Genevieve Lacasse set a league record, finishing her season with 1023 saves in 23GP. This works out to a 44 save/game average; she faced a total of 49 shots/game. (The next on the list was Toronto’s Kessler, who saw barely half as many with 541 all season.) I’ve never seen, and still don’t see, why the Blades coaching staff felt a need to put their starter through a meat grinder that’s been Boston’s season. Lacasse handled the situation impressively, and it’s great to at least see her get an impressive league record out of it. But if I’m a bad person for being relieved her season is over, well, I’m okay with being a bad person. The woman has two Cups and a raft of medals. Let her take a nap.
BRM 3 – 2 CAL
BRM 4 – 5 CAL
Brampton and Calgary finished out their season by grinding each other into dust and splitting the weekend between them. Both games were tight grapples; over the entire weekend shots were 65-64 Calgary. One win this weekend was enough to fix the Inferno in third place, just one point ahead of the Thunder. They’ll be seeing each other again starting tonight, in a three-game series to open the Clarkson Cup semifinals. The Canadiennes and Furies, in first and fourth place, will be playing each other on the other side of the bracket.
You can watch the Clarkson Cup playoffs at cwhllive.com